Oh, where is wifey? Yeah, it's been a bit since the last blog post, eh? Wifey decided that on one spring like afternoon she would get on my son Luca's Ripstick (kind of like a skateboard, but with only two wheels) without helmet or elbow pads. Needless to say, this did not end well. After a trip to the hospital, an MRI to look for a concussion and several stitches to close her grapefruit-sized swollen elbow, it was back to the house. As if it could not get any worse, a few days after removing her stiches, her bursar sack ruptured and fluid flew out of elbow in the manner of bad special effects in a B movie. Sadly, wifey will have to wait for the next one. I was REALLY disappointed. I wanted to share this experience with her.
It would take a manuscript the length of the Harry Potter series (which I finished by the way) to tell you about everyones legs, and all the crazy and amazing things we saw along the way. Let's just say that my team surely rose to the occasion and ran their proverbial asses off with a total time of 25:03:46. Not bad, right? That is a team pace of 7:38 over 197 miles. The amazing thing is I actually think that had circumstances been a bit different, we may actually have run it slightly faster. Unfortunately, I was "nursing," "coping," "bearing as much pain as I could possibly withstand" throughout the race. (More on the knee later). So, taking one 15-passenger van meant being at the next exchange in time for the runner who was out there. Sometimes it was difficult. There were a couple of legs that were only 1.9 and 2.4 miles long. If you have someone running low 7:00 minute miles, you barely have time to drive to the next exchange, get your next runner out and cheer on the next exchange. We gobbled on stuff throughout the trip: peanut butter pretzels, banana muffins, a huge bag of granola (thanks to the large team of runners that stayed at the hotel with us who left it in conference room at breakfast time). We, uh... borrowed it.... forever. I had a peanut butter sandwich somewhere along the way, and a local fire house put together a spaghetti dinner or turkey wraps for dinner when we arrived at one of the exchanges at 7:30 on Friday. It cost $8.00 dollars. My cousin Danny and I had $12 dollars between us when we got to the exchange and some runner offered to make up the difference of the rest of our meal. Very cool. Whoever you were—thanks!
Our team had two Ragnar magazines that had detailed printouts of every leg of the race with their ratings: Easy/Moderate/Hard/ and Very Hard. Personally, I had one moderate, a hard, and then finished with a very hard run. It was a beautiful trail run. The first two miles were straight uphill. I almost went the wrong way when I set out to run my last leg. I got to a point in the trail that looked like a pool of mud and said.. "certainly I am not suppose to run through this." I was incorrect in my thinking. So, I ran back down and started to set off on a different trail when I heard my teammates yell, "No... Mark! You were going the right way!!" Oops.
The one thing that I would warn people of who are considering running Ragnar New York is that you should be prepared to run hills—a lot of them! It was as if the race director went out and said, "...hey, where are the biggest hills to punish these people?" Well, if pictures tell a thousand words, I guess I am in luck. I have been absent for a while, and I do not think words can really capture the essence of Ragnar race experience.
Here are some pictures from the race:
More soon! Train Smart!